The Phoenix Suns are off to a hot start under interim head coach Lindsey Hunter after back-to-back wins over the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers. The 2-0 start should turn criticism into optimism if history proves anything.
Out of the Suns 15 previous head coaches, only three have started 2-0 or better.
Back in the 1969-1970 season, head coach Johnny “Red” Kerr was replaced by former Suns’ owner Jerry Colangelo after a 15-23 start. Colangelo finished the season with a 24-20 record, grabbing a bottom playoff spot before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
It wasn’t until 20 years later that another head coach would start off with a pair of wins, as Scott Skiles started 4-0 after replacing the retired Danny Ainge 20 games into the season. Skiles would lead Jason Kidd and the Suns to a 53-29 record and a short playoff run. Skiles remained the head coach for another season and a half before being let go with a 116-79 record.
Ten years later, Alvin Gentry would start 3-0 as the interim coach following Terry Porter. While he couldn’t lead the Suns to the playoffs to finish the season like Skiles did, he did finish 18-13 before leading the team to the Western Conference Finals the following year. Gentry remained with the Suns for parts of four more seasons, bearing a 158-144 record during his tenure.
Hunter may not have been the fans’ choice, but starting 2-0 — as miniscule as that may seem — puts him into a small group with a winning track record.